The music of Texas and the American Southwest is as diverse and distinctive as the many different groups who have lived in the region over the past several centuries,” writes Gary Hartman in his introduction to this refreshingly different look at various genres of Texas music. Roots of Texas Music celebrates the diverse sources of the music of the Lone Star State by gathering chapters by specialists on each of them—specialists whose views may not have dominated the perception of Texas music to date.
Editor Lawrence Clayton conceived this project as one that would not simply repeat the common wisdom about Texas music traditions, but rather would offer new perspectives. He therefore called on contributors whose work had been well-grounded but not necessarily widely published. The result is a lively, captivating, and original look at the musical traditions of Texas Germans and Czechs, black Creoles and Chicanos, and blues and gospel singers.
Hartman’s introduction places these repertoires within the larger picture of one of the most fertile musical seedbeds the nation knows. The diverse genres included in the anthology also provide an introduction to the classes, cultures, races, and ethnic groups of Texas and highlight the ways in which the state’s musical wealth has influenced the listening habits of the nation.
The late LAWRENCE S. CLAYTON was dean of Liberal Arts at Hardin-Simmons University. His many publications focused largely on the life and literature of the American West, especially on the contemporary cowboy and ranch life.
JOE W. SPECHT is collection manager of the Grady McWhiney Research Foundation and former director of the Jay-Rollins Library at McMurry University. He has contributed entries to The Country Music Encyclopedia and has articles published in Old Time Music and The Journal of Texas Music History.
What Readers Are Saying:
“If you’ve ever been to the Texas Folklife Festival and sampled all the different types of music being played you should have an acquaintance with and appreciation of our state. The Roots of Texas Music will add to that appreciation.” --Bryan College Station Eagle
“This is a book to be read slowly, letting the mind go back in memory to the composers and performers as they are mentioned. You will find a wealth of new names to investigate and enjoy their work. You might even find several times thinking, ‘I didn’t know they were from Texas.’ This is definitely a two bookmark book.” --North Texas E-News
“. . .an important addition to the growing body of literature on the history of Texas music. . . This anthology is very well-suited for a popular audience as well as for use in undergraduate and graduate courses on the history of Texas music. In some cases, the essays only whet the reader’s appetite for deeper research into their respective topics, but collectively they provide a very important introduction to the study of Texas music history from the perspective of the state’s ethnic diversity.” --Texas Books in Review
“. . . a readable, instructional tour of the diversity of Texas music. He who reads it will come away proud of the people and the pickin’ and singin’ that has put so much life in this state’s air and influenced the music played in the rest of the USA and elsewhere around the world. . . . A book that is rich in historical detail, and one can hardly do it justice with generalizations about its contents. Lawrence Clayton and Joe Specht assembled a wealth of Texas music that will benefit any number of scholars whose interests lie with musical history.” --East Texas Historical Journal
“What they produced is a rather fine collection of essays. . .” --Western Historical Quarterly
“Well-balanced and closely controlled, this last scholarly effort by the much-beloved Clayton adds an important dimension to any discussion of Texas history…anyone interested in the subject of Texas culture and the music it gathered and ultimately produced will find this an essential referenced tool.” --Review of Texas Books